Right. They basically played like two or three shows before they were signed?
The first show. The first show they were signed. Right out of my house. And Opiate was recorded live at our house.
You were both on Zoo.
Yup. Green Jellÿ got signed first and Tool right after.
Is that the story where you basically walked in and said ‘I got this all-video record?’
Pretty much. It was more like I didn’t even have it. We had this big giant loft we all lived in and just out of that loft, there was Tool, there was Rage Against The Machine, there was Weezer and there was Green Jellÿ. We had a big party loft on Hollywood Blvd. We threw big parties every weekend and our friends’ bands played at them.
I had a friend that had first worked at Tower Records that wound up getting an assistant job at a record company, and so he brought the A&R guy over to one of our parties. He was like, ‘You gotta see this place, it’s crazy, they have parties, there are bands, it’s off the radar of everything else.’ Cause everybody’s looking at the Whiskey and the Lingerie and the Roxy for bands, and we have this whole underground thing that none of the labels knew.
He brought the A&R guy over who signed Tool and he brought me to the president of the company. He was like ‘Gah!’ (in a sharp Italian accent). It was this guy Lou Maglia. He’s like ‘Gah! Tell me about your band.’ And I’m like ‘Well, you know, we have costumes, people yell that we suck.’ So Lou Maglia signed Green Jellÿ without ever seeing the band, without hearing the band, without even seeing a photograph. It was just me going in there, telling him the story kind of like I’m telling you right now. They gave me $60,000, I went out and bought a camera, a whole bunch of wood, lots of beer, and me and my friends built giant sets and we filmed it and put it together.
Didn’t you end up dropping most of it on ‘Three Little Pigs?’
‘Three Little Pigs’ cost $2,000. This is completely true. We pulled my friend, he had a camera that took one frame at time. And that was his whole requirement for being the guy who filmed it. It was this guy named Fred Stern. We moved his dad’s car out of the garage, because he lived home with his parents. On the weekend, two weekends, we made that video in his father’s garage. Just a pile of clay and some wood and some glue and we just went for it.
We never made one before. Never did this ever before. We figured out an easy way to animate was film yourself doing it, and then play that action back one frame at a time, and then mimic that same thing on the camera [with the clay].
And when we played it, it worked. We had no idea. Never made any videos or anything. Ever in my life.
That would be funny if you released a cut of you guys doing it.
Right. I have to find that footage, I have to find that somewhere.
Have you made more money on the Box playing that over and over again or on YouTube over and over again.
Well YouTube doesn’t pay any money, and neither did the Box. We had signed the contact in ’91 and there really wasn’t any internet or downloading or any of that crap. And so it was ‘Future Technology,’ we’re going to blah, blah, blah. Here we do the 2008 tour. In 2009, for the whole year, I sold 250,000 copies of ‘Three Little Pigs’ on iTunes. You know how much money I got?
$2,500. One penny a song. So when the record companies tell you about how downloading is stealing from the artist, they are lying like a son of a bitch. Here they make $250,000—cause the iTunes download is a $1, and I get a penny. Just the overall thing, the record company itself. But all said and done, when Zoo closed—from the time that I signed with them to the point where they were no longer in existence—I made $4 million.
Ah. Well, fuck it then.
But, Green Jellÿ on a boat.
That’s gonna be hilarious. That’s going to be one of the most epic shows. It’s going to be so funny, I’m literally so excited.